Monday, March 10, 2008

Key words and tricky phrases

My long years of hard-lesson learning have left me with, among other things, a Top Ten List of Key Words and Tricky Phrases. I'm not saying these are inherently good or bad; just that I've learned -- the hard way, of course -- that when these come out, it means that I could stand to pay attention to the little yellow flags waving off in the distance.

Let's review, shall we?

Always: IMHO, few things in life are that absolute. Usually, often, or sometimes? Maybe. Always? Rarely. When applying it to others, note that most people do not react well to being covered by the Always Blanket.

Never*: See above. The Never Blanket is just as ill-received, although I am rather fond of saying Never say never!

Should: This is usually found preceding either expectations or advice, both of which need to be considered before utterance. Unfortunately, this still comes out of my mouth way too often. It can have some unpleasant side effects when used improperly. Applying it to yourself is a good set up for a guilt party; aka should-ing all over yourself. As for dropping the flaming bag of should on others, well, explaining what's wrong with that is beyond the scope of this silly little blog post. To paraphrase Sister: "Better to expect nothing and be pleasantly surprised." Yes, I am guilty of it, but at least now I think about it a little. Usually afterwards.

Hey, I was just thinking,** aka let's put on a show!: When I hear myself say this, I now know I need to stop and think a little more and/or check my meds. It often springs from that Shiny thing that I suffer from.

Not tonight: As a veteran of an X-treme LTR, my experience has been that if the use of this becomes a habit, the yellow flags on the horizon may be turning orange and it's probably worth considering why.

We need to talk, aka pulling out the big guns: Ex and I joked for years that no good conversation starts with that sentence. Then one day we found ourselves in a situation where I had to say it for real. And guess what? It was no joke. 'Nuff said. Definitely big fat red flags here.

I'll do it later: Translation: "Nope, don' wanna and don' wanna admit it." Maybe I will; maybe I won't. Yes, I am a procrasticator!

I'll try: It's the best (read: worst) of both worlds: a do it later crossed with a self-directed should. Almost always means I'd rather not and I feel bad about that. I'm... trying to cut down on this one.  ;)

It's all good: Most of the times someone has said this to me, it has meant exactly the opposite and ended up as a rather ominous warning. But YMMV.

It'll be fun!: Yep, a sales pitch, pure and simple. Good indicator that it probably won't be.

So there's my list of verbal potholes. How 'bout yours?

* OK, OK, twin sides of the same coin, but I could only come up with 9 other things.

** So that's where that came from!


  1. The one I use all the time with the kids is "I'll be there in a minute," followed by runner ups "give me a minute" and the short but sweet "in a minute..."

    Needless to say I can't do much of anything in 60 seconds, and now my kids listen to me even less than they used to!

  2. There's one I had better never use: "You own that." As in, "Things aren't going well and I choose to abdicate responsibility for my role in our interactions. Let me know when you adopt my point of view."


  3. Thanks for the tip -- I'll keep that in mind. :)


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